Menghai Tea Factory (berylleb on ebay)
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Recent Tasting Notes
A very pleasant smooth and mellow medium-heavy shu. When mrmopar gives a 100, one takes notice! So I bought a cake based on his and the other reviews. I liked it quite a bit, but maybe not quite as much as others. It goes down easy. I did not find much complexity in the flavor, but it is quite soothing.
I’d like to thank Tea Explorer for sending me a generous sample of this one!!
6G + 4oz yixing (rinse) X 15sec/30sec…etc….
I started sipping on this hours ago, & am still enjoying it. This is one of those rich & deep Shu’s that remind me of Boston Brown bread. I’ve never ordered to from Berylleb, yet…
First a big thank you to mrmopar, whose tasting notes made me aware of this shu and whose guidance steered me to a reputable seller.
This is, without a doubt, the finest shu I have tasted to date. Rounded and full, powerful in the early steeps, but not overbearing and never bitter or astringent. Notes of leather, cedar, chicory, minerals, mushrooms, citrus and pepper make appearances in various combinations as the steeps progress, with each taking a turn at prominence yet never overshadowing the others. The aroma is refined and never funky. My notes show a range of earthy scents (clean damp earth, loamy earth, hints of peat, fresh rain, clean wet hay) with an underlying sweetness throughout. The liquor runs the gamut of reds, from nearly opaque through ruby, and will transition to a deep amber if you give it enough steeps.
It seems to benefit from adequate leaf quantity and fairly short steeps. Although I have not come up with a definitive Gong Fu regimen for this, I’m leaning towards a baseline of 6 grams per 100 ml (scaled up linearly to my pot size at 7.8 grams and 130 ml). I use 212 F water, give it a single 15 second rinse and a 2 minute pause to allow the leaves to begin to open up. My steeps run 15 / 6 / 8 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 30 seconds, with the first steep running a little long to allow the tea to finish opening up.
This is one shu I’ll buy more of to give a couple of cakes time to age. Absolutely stunning IMO.
Mellow and pleasant taste; nice aroma as it brews; dark red clear tea liquor; smooth and rich in flavor – this is a winning shou! The oaky sip delights the mouth and leaves a sweet aftertaste with a little pepper sensation on the tongue. I quite enjoy this now but I am very anxious to see how it develops after another year or two of aging.
Continuing with this one….
I’ve enjoyed this puer over the last four days. Each session relies upon the original 5g of tea for 3 steeps with 3-4oz of boiling water then each steep is dumped into a 12 oz travel mug to be enjoyed throughout the afternoon.
2nd day: Still sweet (but less so now); nice chestnut color.
3rd day: A certain amount of earthiness is now creeping in; no longer as rich and sweet.
4th day: Much lighter color even after 8 min steeps; mild yet pleasant woodsy flavor; enjoyable but not much left to give here.
I took the same leaves through 12 steeps and it held up quite well. I’ve been working off a sample and I think I have enough to do this again soon. As for the full cake, I think I’m going to age it for another year and let the deliciousness continue to grow. I’ll look forward to celebrating the beginning of 2015 with it. Highly recommend this Shou!
The history and culture of tea is one of many reasons why I pursue this passion. I love to find teas with a special story – enhancing the mystery and beauty of the tea. This is such a tea – a tea that I would love even without a story but the story makes it even more special (and for me, even more enjoyable).
This is one of four teas in Menghai Dayi’s Centennial Memorial set – two shous and two shengs. The one I have is the Jiangshan Meiren (An Empire and the Beauties) ripe cake. This tea commemorates the Soong sisters who one hundred years ago followed and assisted Sun Yat-sen and devoted themselves to the Chinese Revolution. In order to commemorate the Soong sisters, finely selected tea leaves from both the Bada and Bulang organic tea gardens of the Menghai Tea Factory were used.
I approached my first session with this tea with great excitement and high expectations. Of course, I feared that it might let me down since my expectations were so high. The color of the leaf is chestnut red with gold traces throughout -many tea buds are seen throughout the cake. The aroma of the dry leaf is very smooth, almost sweet. Two short five second rinses. Dark chestnut colored liquid with a pleasant smooth aroma.
This tea is lovely! The tea broth has a very rich and balanced taste. It most certainly does not disappoint. I’ll rate and write more after several additional sessions with this wonderful tea.
This arrived as a sample with my 2012 MGH 1214 Eco Big Tree Green Pu’erh Brick, which I will try to forget about for a few years. It’s not fungal like other shou puer. It’s very smooth, clean, refreshing, a subtle sweetness that’s comes with later steeps, and that fragrance of dried fruits (Chinese dates?) that I denotes its quality. Very comforting.
Well this is one of those “special” pu erhs that lives up to its reputation. This tea brews dark as in a heavy fermented tea and exhibits the characteristics of a much older shou. It has a touch of dryness with a hint of woodiness that is followed by a sweet caramel molasses note. it has a hint of a peach taste at the very end that really works in this tea. I was really afraid to try this one and give notes on it as I was afraid it would be further than my simple notes to elaborate on it. All in all, well worth the cost. multiple flavor notes and very reminiscent of some small ultra high grade teas offered by some sellers we have in the US. If I hadn’t known it was a big factory production I would have argued adamantly that this was a small production. It will get a top rating as this one has all the things I like in a shou. I am really glad I bought 2 of these.
This tea has opened up in the compression of the cake since being in the pumidor. Dark apricot slightly burnt sugar taste almost to the point of being a tad bitter. Dark brew in the cup, juicy mouth-feel. Nice and warming to the body. A very nice tea to re-visit.
This tea is dark on the first couple of brews, an aroma of an almost peat mos like. Leaves were dark all the way through in color. It had an almost raisin like taste with a good deal of sweetness with absolutely no bitterness or astringency. A well aged shu that the years have been kind to and mellowed out very much. Since this is what the factory produces a large amount of I am sure it is blended with a good variety of different leaf. This cake is sometimes called the “purple sky” cake and very nice in most of the different years I have had the recipe from. A very consistent cake from Menghai.
I really can’t compete with *Bonnie*’s previous review so I won’t try. I also got this from mrmopar in a tea swap with a few other pu`erhs and msut admit i’m starting to like the stuff. Brewed in gaiwan with rinse 20/10/20/30/etc. infusions until was pu`ewy no more.
Today’s tea was this 0532 that I was gifted by The Nameless Steepster. Thank you.
It’s a dark brown mass of leaves in a bag. I forgot to sniff the leaves. Shame on me. My excuse is that I seem to be braindead today. Too much delivering flowers for my wife this morning, methinks. Fortunately, despite the lack of notes on the dry leaf, and my complete inability to type two letters correctly in a row, I am able to get the rest of this down on in 0s and 1s for you to read.
Anyway, the aroma from the wet leaf is a sort of earthy leaf mulch aroma. Quite pleasant really. Not to self: don’t stick nose so close to hot teapot. Ouch! Upon tasting the tea, I am struck by how smooth this tea is. It is really smooth, like they tell you beer is but the beer is never really that smooth. The taste is mineral and earth and the liquor is quite thick, giving the tea a healthy body. There is something else going on as well, a taste I recognise that I cannot put a name too. Perhaps something herby but I really am not sure about that one. Whatever it is, it is really quite pleasant. I like this tea and would be interested to try it again in a couple of years once it has had a chance to age a bit.
Thank you to a Steepsterite who wishes to remain nameless. Said person has done me a good turn by sending this tea to me.
So, I spent most of today trying to persuade my new router/modem to talk to my laptop via the wireless connection. Needless to say I got somewhat frazzled as well as being irked that the wireless speed was registering at less than one tenth of the wired speed. Clearly the issue was to do with my laptop (a venerable old soldier, if ever I saw one) and the young whippersnapper that is the new router. I suspect the router made a disparaging comment about old people, or something like that, and the laptop rapped the router on the shins with its stick. Then they both sulked. Anyway, it is sorted now, and I rewarded myself with a pot of tea. I think I deserved it!
I used a 170ml Yixing pot to brew this tea and put 8g of tea in the pot. Then I rinsed it for a few seconds to clear it out and wake it up. The rinse was rich and dark already so I steeped it for 10 seconds in the first instance. The liquor was still very dark. It tasted earthy, slightly metallic, but with a hint of cinnamon behind those other flavours. I found it to be smooth and light overall. The mouthfeel was silky and much less full than most teas I drink, but that made this a particularly easy tea to drink. Given how the tea is lasting (Steep 8 and still going strong) that is probably a good thing because I shall be drinking it for the rest of the evening. I shall certainly not complain about that!
mrmopar kindly sent me some samples of his pu. Thank you.
I decided to try this one first because I loved the name. Golden peacock brings to mind the faded grandeur of a royal court. I wondered if it would bring that grandeur to my faded kitchen.
The dry tea smells earthy with a slight fishiness that I expected of a shu. It arrived as a chunk from a beeng so I picked it apart carefully. The leaves seemed quite loose and easy to pick apart. They were smallish with a couple of golden ones in among the brown.
Brewing the tea up, the first wash smells of that same earthiness and the liquor is bright red. I threw the wash and brewed properly. Still the same dark red liquor but the earthy aroma has gone and it is replaced by something sweeter that I cannot quite describe. Tasting the tea, it was initially too hot to pick out any real flavour. It was mellow and rich. As it cooled I was stunned by the sudden emergence of a flavour that took me back to my childhood and the sweet shop near the bus station. I used to regularly by a quarter of boiled sweets from there on my way home. The tea reminded me of Cola Cubes. Not the sugary sweetness but certainly the flavours at the back of that. Then, as it cooled more I thought I detected a note of sherbet pips. And that was just the first steeping.
Repeat steepings have shown that I was not imagining it. This shu is earthy and mellow with the sweetness of cola and sherbet at the back of it. I am now on steeping number 6 and feeling like my eyeballs are swimming, despite the small size of my pot. The tea is still going strong. Ah well, it has been great reaching this point and I can see how it fares later after a rest. This tea is a really nice example of a shu that I could drink a lot of. It lacks the fishiness of some shu and has a mellow sweetness that works greatly in its favour.
Thank you mrmopar for this most silky Puerh!
Yesterday there was a long grey cloud parallel to the foothills by my house.
The cloud didn’t move.
When I walked from my car to the house I looked up at the texture and thickness of the huge monster and recognized it as a Lenticular cloud that you see at high altitude and was formed by moist air blowing over the Rocky Mountains. Constant light winds were keeping it in place, still and waiting.
I knew what was going to happen at sunset. I had seen from a greater distance a cloud monster like this one at Lake Tahoe. But this cloud was right over my head!
I went into the house, got my camera and checked how my buddies on Steepster were doing, when I noticed that my room was suddenly lit with golden light.
The cloud was illuminated by the setting sun which lit up my room!
I ran out the door with my keys and camera, took 3 shots over the complex and drove a block away to the entry of the Equine Center so that I could take my sky shots without buildings or cars.
I sat in the dirt and had the best time shooting a sky that was an ocean of gold, purple, pink and fire red. The color was so bright from ice crystals that the ground reflected a rose tint.
(I hope these pictures show up because I’ve been having trouble with flickr/yahoo.)
Sitting on the ground with the colors of Autumn thick and textured stretched across the sky, it was as if one enormous wing of an Angel was shielding me in an ethereal glow.
I can understand why the shephard David sat on a hillside writing songs of thanksgiving. I want to write Psalms after seeing or experiencing beauty.
The experience of last evening was so awe-inspiring, that I had no question about what kind of tea I wanted to drink this morning.
I picked Puerh.
Puerh always binds me to the appreciation of nature. I get all mushy sometimes about how much I love the rich and earthy thickness of it.
This Puerh I picked out of my to-be-reviewed stash at random.
I couldn’t find any information about it so the opinions are entirely my own.
My usual method is: A 30 second rinse followed by 3 steepings all at 30 seconds. The 4th steeping was increased to 3 minutes (pushing the envelope).
The wet leaves had a remarkable vanilla bean scent. I was surprised!
The liquor began as honey brown, deepening to rootbeer color with later infusions.
The first tasting was mild, lightly sweet and very light cedar. It was hard to tell that this was a Puerh for the lack of earthiness.
I expected the flavor to develop as the leaves opened though. The second steeping was the same as the first.
By the third steeping, I wondered what to do. Not a thing had changed from steeping 1,2,3.
I checked the leaves which HAD opened enough to produce some darkening as the steeping’s progressed.
Should I just drink this as I would a tea that wasn’t a Puerh? Add some sweetening?
I sweetening it a little and it was smooth and light but a bit boring to me.
I decided to increase the time to 3 minutes on the 4th steeping.
Now this was clearly a darker liquor, very smooth tasting, silky and mild. The only change from previous steeping’s was a little cedar bite on the tongue that quickly disappeared as the tea cooled.
This wasn’t a review of the earthy Shu Puerh’s I’m used to… quite the opposite. Don’t get me wrong though, this is a fine enough Puerh for people who DON’T like the earthy, stronger Puerh’s.
For anyone who is fearful and wants to try these exquisite tea’s this may be exactly the rare, golden beauty you’ve been looking for.
Drank the last of my samples from the wonderful Mr. Mopar today. I think raw pu’erh isn’t really my thing. This tea was good but didn’t get me excited to keep drinking it. This tea made a gold-yellow brew with citrus and grape skin flavors that reminded me of a Darjeeling tea.
This had some very large leaves in it, one of them really massive! I felt I had to take a picture of it (with my junky phone camera) which kind of looks like I used instagram filters or something, but that’s just how the pictures on my phone come out haha I drew in the rest, since this this monster of a leaf was only part of it, and the picture quality is pretty bad.
My phone had Instagram before it was cool! lol :P
Called ’’Clouds’’ another great Menghai dayi. Very rich notes no taste of bitterness or the strong licorice taste of a young shu. Tried a lesser tea, tossed it and picked this one off the shelf. Much better now I am a happy camper! Hints of oak and chocolate smooth and mellow as a great pu should be. a great way to end the night.
I had a little leaf left! I made about eight steeps and shared a peaceful evening of gong fu tea service with hubby by candlelight.
I love how this puerh starts to coat your mouth with a cedar-like oil starting around the fourth steep. It just keeps going and going as you steep. I think it was noticeably paler around the eighth steep. This is a lovely puerh, sweet and smooth.